Good news about strokes?

Yes!

The American Heart Association  (AHA) reports that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by taking these steps:

With uncontrolled high blood pressure to blame for more than half of all strokes, it leads the list of risk factors that can be controlled.

Knowledge is power; so know your numbers and work closely with your doctor to keep hypertension in check and disable what the AHA calls a “silent killer.” In addition to closely following doctor’s orders and religiously taking prescribed medicines, these steps are critical:

  • Choose fresh vegetables and fruits over processed foods.
  • Reduce salt: too much sodium can overwork your heart.
  • Walk, work out, run: it’s your choice. But find a physical activity you enjoy and make it a regular habit.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you do drink, be moderate: One drink a day for women; two for men.

Some risk factors cannot be modified. They include age; chances double every 10 years after age 55.  Also, women are at higher risk as are African-Americans.

Strokes, when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, take three forms:

  • TIA, transient ischemic attack is a temporary blockage of a blood vessel. It is often called a “mini stroke,” because it lasts only a few minutes. A better label would be “warning stroke,” according to the American Heart Association, because a third of patients who suffer a TIA have a stroke within a year.
  • Ischemic, a blockage within a blood vessel, is the most common.
  • Hemorrhagic, a rupture of a weakened blood vessel often caused by uncontrolled blood pressure.

In all cases, prompt treatment can make a world of difference. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is a primary stroke center, which means patients brought to the emergency room are quickly assessed and treated by a stroke team 24 hours a day.

Thanks to a generous grant, St. Elizabeth Women Take Heart is offering complimentary stroke/carotid screenings to women 35 and older. Click the links below for details.

Women Take Heart Stroke Screening
Thursday, Jan. 4, 2-7 p.m.

Women Take Heart Stroke Screening
Friday, Jan. 5, noon to 4 p.m.

This painless, non-invasive screening will be performed on our CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit at St. Elizabeth Florence. Stroke is one of the leading killers of women in the U.S., and with this 15-minute screening you’ll know more about your personal risk factors for stroke. Registration is required and appointments are limited. To reserve your screening time call (859) 301-9355 (WELL).